Fo-ti (Polygonum multiflorum) has a rich history as a fertility aid. Generally it is used to treat male infertility, but it has been found to be an excellent herb for overall health and longevity.
Fo-ti is also known as He Shou Wu, Ho Shou Wu, Fleece flower and a variety of other names depending the country. He Shou Wu translates as “black haired Mr. He”. Legend tells of a man named Mr. He who was ill and unable to father children. He came upon a plant, upon closer inspection he noticed that during the night the vines of the plant intermingled. He thought that this plant might help him have the same interaction with his wife. He consumed the roots of the plant for many years, his hair turned from grey to black again, his health was restored and he went on to father children.
Fo-ti is a traditional adaptogen herb used in China, Japan, Vietnam, Taiwan and Korea. It has gained popularity in the United States for its superb healing and restorative properties. Three words are synonymous with this plant, “vitality”, “vigor” and “longevity”. It has a long history of use for aiding in all kinds of debilitating conditions.
For fertility, Fo-ti has been traditionally used for men who have low libido, low sperm count, erectile dysfunction and poor sperm motility. For enhanced action, TCM practitioners generally combine Fo-ti with Ashwagandha, Morinda Rt. and suo yang (Cynomorium songaricum).
Fo-ti Root Support for Fertility
- Nourishing for the blood
- According to TCM helps to restore jing (life essence)
- Shown to increase libido
- Shown to improve sperm count and motility
- Excessive uterine bleeding
- Excessive vaginal discharge
- Supports both thyroid and adrenal function
- Supports healthy digestion
- Nourishing to the liver and kidneys
- Rich in iron, essential for proper blood formation
- Rich in zinc, supports healthy testosterone levels in men
- The vine and leaf are sometimes used to aid stress, nervous tension and insomnia
Support Fertility Longevity
For thousands of years people have said that Fo-ti gives them an uplifting feeling. Until now no one could understand for sure why, at least from a scientific standpoint. Research has shown that Fo-ti has a potent action as an MAOI (Monoamine oxidase inhibitor). MAOs are enzymes that break down a series of chemicals in our bodies. MAOs are split into two groups; MAO-A and MAO-B. Animal studies have shown Fo-ti to be a MAO-B inhibitor. One of the main chemicals in our bodies that is broken down by MAO’s is dopamine. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that plays a role in our pleasure, well being, movement and emotional responses. Dopamine may decline due to age, especially if you are over 40, chronic stress, poor dietary and lifestyle habits. As dopamine is reduced by MAOs, natural vitality in the body may decline, including sexual function and hormone release. Fo-ti is one of the only herbs to perform as a MAO-B inhibitor. Fo-ti’s action as a MAO-B inhibitor may help prevent low levels of dopamine. Low levels of dopamine leave the door open for sexual dysfunction, mental illness, emotional and mental stress. MAO-B inhibition from use of Fo-ti was shown to be over 80%.
Studies show a great potential for use of Fo-ti for people with fertility issues associated with advanced age (40+), high stress, adrenal fatigue, POF, poor egg health, low sperm count and poor sperm health.
Traditional Suggested Usage
Tincture: 30-40 drops, 3 times a day.
Decoction of dried cured root: 1-2 tsp. dried rt. to 10 oz. water. Bring to a boil, lower heat, cover and simmer for 15-20 minutes. Remove from heat, steep for an additional 40 minutes. 4 oz. of the decoction, 3 times a day. Do not decoct in a metal pot. Pyrex is preferred.
Quality is very important when purchasing this herb! Be sure you are purchasing this herb from a qualified TCM practitioner or reputable herbal company!
Caution: Do not use with acetaminophen, tetracycline, statin or hepatotoxic medications.
1. David Winston and Steven Maimes (2007) Adaptogens Herbs for Strength, Stamina, and Stress Relief, Healing Arts Press
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